A Review of the "Write or Die" and "Editminion" Software
Write, don't think?
You have heard it before; I guarantee it. It's that phrase, that horribly dreaded phrase, that no aspiring/amateur/"just getting started" writer ever wants to hear. You've heard it a thousand times, and each time you can't help but repeat to yourself, "Oh yeah? Well, that's easier said than done." And it is.
That phrase is, "Write now, think later." I've also heard, "Write, don't think." The two are interchangeable.
What this piece of advice basically means is that you should let your fingers fly across your keyboard, writing down whatever your mind churns out first without looking back. Then, when you're done, you go back and edit. Professional writers all over the globe swear by this advice, and they're write to. It works, and it's the best advice you'll ever follow. It's just so...so hard, isn't it?
Why is it hard?
It's hard because there is a tiny little editor sitting inside each of our brains, and he's begging to go over every single line of text before it travels down to our fingers and gets typed out on the keyboard. That's all well and good, but if you've had any experience with this little editor, you know that plenty of times he can stop you from ever writing at all. You'll just sit there, if you're anything like me, staring at the screen until the words come out absolutely perfect the very first time you even bring them out at all. If you're anything like me, you've also found out that going about things this way only gives you weeks and weeks of hard work and only about 300 words a day to show for it. Not very useful (or fun), is it?
That's why productive writers everywhere recommend that you tell this little editor in your brain to sit down and shut up until it's his turn to shine---after the writing is already done. You can't edit something that isn't even there yet, after all!
So how do you shut up this voice inside your head telling you to over think ever last word before you spit it out?
Many writers have asked this question. Dr. Wicked has answered it.
How "Write or Die" Helps
I'll admit that I'm a bit of a fangirl for this software, if software can even have fangirls. I'm fairly sure it can.
Write or Die forces a writer to do just what he has always wanted but been too scared to do: write uninhibited. Using the free web app, you enter in the desired time for which you wish to write, how many words you want to have, and your form of punishment if you start slacking. Gentle mode sends you a popup if you stop typing for a bit. Normal mode plays an ear-splitting sound that can't be stopped unless you get back to your writing. Kamikaze mode begins deleting text you've already typed until you get right back to typing. You can choose whatever level of "grace period" you feel necessary for you to stop and think for a brief moment, but don't let yourself get distracted!
Sound unfair? Horrible? Absolutely terrible?
It is. And that's why the app will help you write uninhibited.
How "Edit Minion" Can Help You After You're Done
The creator of Write or Die also has a program called Edit Minion that is currently in beta. After I finish scrambling to finish my word goal in the former, I copy and paste my text into the latter for a quick overall edit before I delve in deeper. The program is great for helping you recognize those pesky adverbs, the bane of the writer's existence.
My Experience With the Software
I loved the free Write or Die web app so much that I bought the $10 desktop version. It really was that amazing. In about fifteen minutes I managed to write almost two thousand words, more than I could normally write in an all day session. Yes, I am the queen of procrastination. Not with Write or Die. Not unless I want violins screeching through my speakers.
I'm going to use it for NaNoWriMo and I'm confident the software will serve me well. I suggest you use it too, not just for fiction or writing challenges, but for every writing task you pick up. I typed. I typed fervently and often. If you use any tool, any tool at all, I suggest it be Write or Die. Take this advice if you take no other piece of advice I give you in my many long, drawn out, rambly hubs.